Freemasons welcome Brown's book
AUSTRALIAN Freemasons have welcomed the latest book from conspiracy-thriller writer Dan Brown, which went on sale yesterday.
The Lost Symbol has the Freemasons' symbol on its cover, and deals with the role played by the 300-year-old organisation known as 'the Craft' in the birth of the United States.
But contrary to their reputation in works of fiction, the Freemasons is not a secret society, said Ron Weir, a senior member of the Eltham Lodge.
They are, rather, a 'society with secrets', he said, with codes and rituals like many others, and more of a community group than a sinister cult.
And they are becoming more accessible all the time, he said, actively seeking new people to join their aging membership.
These days old rivalries with Roman Catholics and other religions are forgotten and every- one is welcome to join.
However, he said it was unlikely women would ever be admitted.
Dan Brown's best-selling novels, such as The Da Vinci Code, have in the past caused an upsurge in inquiries from potential new members, according to Garry Eslick, the Worshipful Master of the Ballina Lodge, and the fellowship's hierarchy is determined to make the most of the interest created by Brown's latest book.
The highest ranking office-bearer in New South Wales, Dr Greg Levenston, attended Tuesday's book launch in his capacity as Grand Master of NSW and ACT.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to speak about Freemasonry,” he said.
There were more than 46,000 Freemasons in Australia, and they had done a lot of good in their communities, he said.
The opening up to the public includes the pub- lication of a book It's No Secret - Real Men Wear Aprons.
Every year the Ballina lodge opens its doors to the public, who are welcome to learn about the Freemasons' secrets and rituals.
“We are doing everything we can to bring it into the 21st Century, and away from its Dark Ages reputation,” Mr Eslick said.
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